30th Aug 2012
It seems pretty innocuous: You type in a search term, and results from your Gmail appear alongside Web search results. Early this month, Google announced a field trial of the new Web + Mail search integration feature. This is perfectly in line with what you’d expect from Google, and it’s far from innocuous: It’s about getting under the skin of your brain.
That might seem to come from a webpage with a black background, but it’s actually quite a practical matter – dominating the search industry. Google Desktop Search integrated Web and computer search results. Then came the large set of Google helpers that do the thinking for you: Search Autocomplete, Related Searches, Related Videos, and such.
But Google also senses things. For example, it knows that you’re (probably) searching for images when you type the name of a celebrity in the search box.
That’s the key point here – Google knows.
If you opt in for the trial, you might find the search integration interesting/fun – or, possibly, threatening/creepy. Whichever way, the question is about the utility of the feature.
It’s not realistic to say that you’ll find something useful from your inbox when you search for it on the Web. And it’s somewhat of a stretch to say that one search window instead of two is a useful new feature (although Calendar, Documents, etc. will almost certainly be integrated as well).
The real utility, it seems, is that you won’t need to think about where a piece of data is. When something pops into your head – whether a place, an appointment, or a person (known or unknown to you) – just Google it. It does make things convenient, and Google’s cut from this is that even more of your thoughts and actions will link back to Google.
As of now, most of us think of “Web search” as equating to Google. If this integration endeavour goes to its logical conclusion, we’ll think of “Search” – in all senses of the word – as Google. Now that’s mindshare!
The initial hurdle is privacy concerns, from “Is my mail being read” – and about someone looking over your shoulder – to actual e-mail security. If those concerns get ironed out, this search integration trial will be an important landmark along Google’s way to complete control. Over search, that is.
Want to opt in? Enter the matrix here.
TechTree Blog: Gmail Results in Google Search — Trick Or Treat?
It’s about mindshare.
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